In 2007 I took my son Caine on a trip to Europe. We flew from Baltimore to London and met a friend from Poole, Dorset. We drove from London down to Poole on a highway littered with fields of sheep in a little truck in which the steering wheel was on the “wrong side” of the cab through many of chaotic roundabouts. After a quick trip to the driving range (which was absolutely lovely and also was littered with sheep and rocks) and then to the bowling alley, we quickly bedded down to board our train from Waterloo to Paris early the next morning. I must say, there is nothing like a train station in Europe…they are all totally amazing. We rode through the English tunnel and the French countryside and just like that we were at the Gare du Nord in Paris…(I’ll spare you the details of having our luggage searched at one of the stops). I really didn’t have anything major planned for us. My son, as it turned out was not a big fan of Paris and wanted to return to Poole. I on the otherhand was absolutely twitterpated, as I always am in Paris. It is my refuge, however cliche. I gave Caine a disposible camera and we began to walk to our hotel on the Place de Petite Hotels. Caine was amazed at the hotel in Paris, as you may know, the rooms are small, the buildings are tall and very very old. The rickety elevator both had us saying our prayers…I took a shower and we were off. Caine was not the most adventurous in regards to food, but he did find their ham and cheese sandwiches amazing…minus the fact that they don’t customarily add mayo. We wandered the city for days. We played in the little parks, and decided to venture out of my safety zone of my most familiar metro rides and gardens to see what else Paris had to offer. We hopped on a city bus and rode around the city for hours. I had been sketching a lot and have had a long love of the people of Paris and their beauty and weathered elders. We decided that we would take pictures of all of the people that we found interesting to look at. I believe out of the 10 rolls of film we used, two rolls were used on people. What I began to see was that we were not taking pictures of the “pretty” people but of the homeless and the weathered. It was a wonderful day….and a wonderful trip. If you ask Caine he will say he wasn’t exactly fetched with Paris but he prefers the beaches of St. Croix.
Upon our return home, life quickly resumed in the most American of fashions. I manages to stowe in our bags a few pounds of coffee, french pate, croissants and some crunchy bars from London just so that I might savor the wonderful trip for a few more days.
I developed 8 rolls of film and left two rolls to develop at a later time. The pictures were lovely. The remaining two rolls of film were of our trip around the city photographing people.
It is now March 22, 2011, and I have still not developed that film. I am not certain why. Part of me feels like the memory is far better than the actual images but also there is another part of me that knows that the beauty of those people’s faces are unable to be reproduced, even by an image.
I ran across those two rolls of film the other day…